Renewables Directive moves forward in adoption process

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The European Commission's draft renewable energy directive has moved a step forward in the legislative process with a vote by the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) overwhelmingly in favour of the law, though subject to a raft of amendments. The 50 to two decision allows the legislation to proceed to the full parliament for a vote on October 1. Among 33 compromise amendments to the Commission's original proposal are introduction of an interim target of 5% of renewables by 2015, with penalties for countries failing to achieve their goals, and removal of plans for an EU-wide market for trade of renewable energy certificates. Certificate trade is replaced with "flexibility mechanisms" allowing countries unable to meet their targets at home to count renewable investments in other member states towards their tally. ITRE retained the Commission's binding target of 10% of energy in transport from renewables, but insists that 40% of that should be from more sustainable sources than traditional biofuels; these could be electricity, hydrogen or biofuels from waste. Christian Kjaer of the European Wind Energy Association commends the amended draft law, in particular the measures on priority grid access and dispatch. Oliver Schäfer from the European Renewable Energy Council is particularly happy with the flexibility mechanisms. "Governments with this proposal will also be able to maintain control over their targets and policies to achieve them," he says. But renewable energy certificate trading body RECS International says the flexible mechanisms will not create a market for renewables that drives down costs. The instruments proposed are mechanisms for settlements between governments, comments Claes Hedenström from RECS. "No price signals for new investors will be created. New investors will have to put their trust in national support systems, but these systems have been proven unstable and changing over time."

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